STRAUSS, RICHARD Eine Alpensinfonie, Salome Op. 54, Dance of the Seven Veils. City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra / Andris Nelsons. Orfeo

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Strauss Richard Eine Alpensinfonie Salome Symphony Orchestra Andris Nelsons Orfeo

RICHARD STRAUSS

Eine Alpensinfonie,

Salome Op. 54: Dance of the Seven Veils

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra / Andris Nelsons

With his Alpine Symphony, Richard Strauss invites us to see it as a veritable ‘summit’ in the genre of programme music. It is masterly in its layers of orchestration (not unlike a mountain massif), while its harmonic and motivic riches offer a sublime acoustic panorama that is gigantic in scope.

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under its music director Andris Nelsons, have already released a highly-praised Strauss disc on Orfeo with Ein Heldenleben and the Rosenkavalier Suite, and Nelsons understands how to convey his fascination with Strauss to both orchestra and listeners with utter conviction. There are naturally moments of solitude and reflection – as when, for example, Strauss makes thematic allusions to Also sprach Zarathustra (at the summit). Then there is the sense of calm that is subtly savoured to the full after the storms that marked the descent.

Strauss was not just concerned with personal liberty, but was also capable of enthusiastic liberality – as in his opera Salome, which caused such a scandal at the time of its première. This is clearly audible in the brilliant encore that the CBSO and Nelsons offer here, namely the Dance of the Seven Veils. We rarely hear it so finely tuned and with such unerring accuracy in its orchestral colours and rhythmic density, not to mention climaxes and shifts in tempi. This classic of the early 20th century could hardly be played in a fresher, more contemporary manner.

Orfeo C833111A

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